ASU students to present biodesign projects at Museum of Modern Art in New York

June 19, 2017

A team of students from ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts has been selected as a finalist to present at the Biodesign Challenge Summit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.

The Biodesign Challenge is an international university competition that partners college students with scientists to envision new ways to harness living systems and biotechnology. ASU’s team was chosen as a representative to compete with 22 universities from seven countries around the world at MoMA on June 22–23. Biodesign Challenge Download Full Image

The students took part in the Herberger Institute's Arts Media and Engineering 410 Interactive Materials class, led by Assistant Professor Stacey Kuznetsov. Throughout the spring semester, the students have been developing their projects in conjunction with artists, designers and scientists from ASU’s Biodesign Institute across disciplines including Rolf Halden and Karen Anderson.  

They wanted to explore the intersection between art, architecture, the future of biotechnology and our environmental stewardship. 

Herberger Institute students Ryan Wertz, Loren Benally, Jacob Sullivan and Veronika Volkova will be presenting their project, called “Life Light,” in New York. For the class, they created a small-scale prototype of an interactive, kinetic art installation that can move with a visitor to envelop them with glow-in-the-dark, or bioluminescent, algae.   

The idea is to create a living forest of light that will move and adapt to the configuration of the exhibit space, and the human interaction within the space. 

“I would like visitors to feel enchanted,” Benally said. “I want them to stop and take a second to experience what’s going on around them and to think about how it affects them.” 

Their end goal is to create an interactive ecosystem that houses a field of lantern-size containers, each growing bioluminescent algae. The algae would be suspended at different heights and the organisms inside will light up when touched by people passing through the exhibit.

Herberger Institute student Veronica Volkova also explained the inspiration behind the project, stating that “we want to make people aware of the relationship between humans and nature.”

Above all, they wanted to create an artwork to show how people’s actions affect the environment, but also how our interaction with the natural world influences us in return. 

The team will showcase its project at MoMA on June 22 and 23 to an audience of 200 curators, artists, designers, scientists and more. They will compete for prizes including the Glass Microbe, an artwork produced by U.K. artist Luke Jerram that symbolizes the intersection of art, design and biology.

“These finalists were selected from a pool of 400 participants. Their projects will be seen by thousands of people around the world,” said Daniel Grushkin, founder of the Biodesign Challenge and executive director of Genspace. “I firmly believe that they are leading us into a sustainable future with their visions.”

The projects will be on display at a gallery show at School of Visual Arts in New York City, running until July 1.

Kuznetsov is optimistic about the future of art-science collaboration at ASU. Participating in this year’s competition has shown her the value of interdisciplinary projects such the Biodesign Challenge.

“I’m so thrilled with this class as a starting point for collaboration. Our students should have lab access, they should be able to go to the Biodesign Institute and vice versa. The Biodesign students should be able to come here and use our 3-D printers and laser cutters,” Kuznetsov said. “I hope that sending our team to New York gets us to collaborate more between the two Institutes.” 

This is the first year that ASU has participated in the Biodesign Challenge. The project is supported by Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the Biodesign Institute.

Written by Michelle Saldana, Biodesign Institute

ASU Cronkite School associate professor named associate dean of Barrett Downtown

June 19, 2017

Craig Allen, an associate professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has been appointed as the new associate dean of Barrett, the Honors College for Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

Allen will supervise Barrett’s downtown faculty and staff who serve approximately 700 students and will continue to serve on the Cronkite faculty, teaching an honors course for the school in the spring semester. Craig Allen Craig Allen, an associate professor at the Cronkite School, has been appointed as the new associate dean of Barrett, the Honors College for ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. Download Full Image

“Craig Allen is a great faculty member to be the leader of Barrett at the Downtown Phoenix campus,” said Mark Jacobs, dean of Barrett and ASU vice provost. “He is extremely well connected to faculty and staff of the downtown campus through his teaching and university service. He loves honors students and has taught them and advised them for years, and he is a friendly, collaborative person.”

Jacobs said Allen will focus on expanding Barrett’s footprint on the Downtown Phoenix campus, working to grow the number of overall honors students, courses and research opportunities. He also is tasked with increasing collaboration between Barrett and a multitude of city and community groups in downtown Phoenix.

“I am privileged to join the leadership, staff and faculty of Barrett and look forward to Barrett downtown for future pursuits,” said Allen, who starts his new position today.

At the Cronkite School, Allen established himself as a leader in international communication and mass media history. His scholarly interests — expressed in more than 100 book chapters, publications, conference papers and reviews — center on television news, the rise of private media around the world and the history of the first female newscasters in broadcast news.

“Craig has played an important role at the Cronkite School for more than 25 years through his scholarly research and his dedicated commitment to training the next generation of journalists,” said Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School and ASU vice provost. “We congratulate him on this new endeavor.”

Allen, who joined the Cronkite School in 1991, has written two books, one of which was “Eisenhower and the Mass Media: Peace, Prosperity and Prime Time TV.” He is the past president of ASU’s Downtown University Senate and member of the University Academic Council and ASU General Studies Council.  He currently chairs the University Hearing Board and is active in ASU’s Title IX activities.

Prior to receiving his doctorate from Ohio University in 1989, he was a newspaper reporter at the Oregon Journal in Portland and a news director and manager of television stations KMGH in Denver, KRDO in Colorado Springs and KHQ in Spokane. In March 2003, Allen was named an International Radio and Television Society Fellow.

He also has been active as a consultant to television news organizations outside the U.S. His foreign assignments have included ICTV in Ukraine, TVB in Indonesia and Pop TV in Slovenia.

He has contributed to numerous television productions, including a documentary on the 1988 U.S. presidential campaign that was prepared by Channel 4 in London and telecast to viewers in the United Kingdom.

Communications manager, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication